WASHINGTON-U.S. retail sales totaled $419 billion in April, up 0.1 percent from March and 3.7 percent from April 2012, according to this morning’s monthly retail sales report from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Looking at the retail channels that sell home furnishings, sales at furniture and home furnishings stores were flat compared to March and rose 3.9 percent over last year’s April. General merchandise stores registered a 1 percent gain month over month, but declined 0.7 percent from last year. Department-store sales (excluding leased departments) were up 0.3 percent from March but down 3.6 percent from April of last year.
The National Retail Federation said April retail sales showed positive trends owing to improved employment numbers, increased housing prices and the acceleration of the stock market. Matthew Shay, NRF’s president and CEO, said, “Despite colder spring weather and an early Easter, consumers shopped in April, demonstrating an inherent resiliency even as the economy faces serious headwinds, including stagnant job and wage growth.”
Jack Kleinhenz, NRF’s chief economist, added that the association is predicting moderate retail sales growth for the year as a whole. Noting that today’s Census Bureau report is “encouraging news,” Kleinhenz cautioned that “retail sales and consumer spending in April may not necessarily translate into a stronger or healthier second quarter.”